Me & Matt at the Mitchell Thanksgiving. Note I am eating a TOMATO!

I, along with the two other Americans in my 11-person class, have spent the last couple weeks sharing the excitement and tradition of Thanksgiving with our Irish classmates. We’ve been retelling the Thanksgiving story (well, the version we learned as Kindergardeners, maybe not the most accurate version), describing our family traditions, explaining the importance of the central idea of giving thanks, and reminiscing over the food. The Irish girls were probably sick and tired of hearing about how great Thanksgiving is by the time it rolled around last week. But no one can say we didn’t try to share its wonderfulness!

Jon and I love Thanksgiving so much, in fact, that we celebrated it three times last weekend!

On Thanksgiving day, the other Mitchell Scholars and I had the chance to visit the Irish Dail (their Parliament), sit in on some proceedings, and meet a couple of Senators, including the wonderful David Norris. We also spent some time with staff members at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Anglo – Irish Division, talking about the current state of affairs in Northern Ireland. It was a great way to spend the day. That evening, me, Jon, Michael, Matt, and Neil shared a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at Neil’s friend Sophia’s house. It was a casual night, filled with amazing food cooked lovingly by Americans missing home. We were lucky to have a couple Spanish, Irish, and English friends present for the big event.

Friday evening was Thanksgiving #2, and a big highlight of the weekend. We were invited to Irish entrepreneur (and tv personality) Niall O’Farrell’s beautiful home in Dublin for a home cooked meal. He graciously welcomed us with delicious wine and a multi-course dinner. When the final plate was set on the table, for the cheese course, I wondered if I was going to make it out alive. But you know me, always a corner of my stomach reserved for cheese. I left feeling beyond stuffed.

Saturday’s dinner was the official Mitchell celebration. Trina, the president of the US-Ireland Alliance, cooked a big ol’ turkey and the mashed potatoes, and we all brought something to share. One thing about the Mitchell Scholars: We really know our way around a kitchen! The Mitchells contributed amazing yams and sweet potatoes, lovely salads, beans, and of course, homebaked pie. Matt, an avid beer lover, even brought a variety of microbrews from his recent trip back to the States.

Christina and Bre, the bakers of pies.

If lack of wonderful food was a theme of living in Uganda last year, overeating may be the theme for this year in Ireland.

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend which reminded me of the many things I have to be thankful for: good friends, amazing opportunities, my lovely husband. And of course, good food.

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